The Home Selling Process

The information in this article will help you understand what to expect when selling your home. We have put the information in a step-by-step format and have included a time frame for each step so that you can mark it in a calendar.

1. Choose a real estate agent. Choose an agent you trust who is knowledgeable about your neighborhood. It is helpful to choose an agent who also works with buyers so he or she can look at your home through a buyer's eyes. Your agent will market your property, set up showings, write the contract for you, and help you negotiate with the buyers. Your agent will also be able to give you recommendations on which contractors to hire for the termite inspection (also called the CL-100 report) and for any necessary repairs. Your agent will help set up the closing and facilitate the closing with the buyer's attorney. (Time frame: approximately 3-6 months before the date you want to sell)

2. Make your home shine. Ask your agent what you can do to improve your home's appearance to buyers. He or she may suggest de-cluttering, cleaning, painting, etc. If any repairs need to be made (ex. fixing a leak, replacing an inoperable oven), now is the time. You can save time and money by making repairs before a buyer inspects your home. Your home has only one first impression, so make it good! (Time frame: before listing your home or as soon as possible after listing your home)

3. Show your home. Allowing easy access to your home is essential. Homes sell faster when a seller requires little or no notice to see the home. This can be hard with pets, but make it as easy as possible for the buyers to come on short notice. Your home will be shown more often if you make showing your home easy. Also, if you are home when the buyers arrive, say hello and then leave for a bit (even if it's just for a quick walk around the neighborhood). Your home will sell itself, so do not feel like you need to sell it. When owners are present, buyers feel uncomfortable and feel like they're being watched. (Time frame: as soon as your home is listed)

4. Buyer writes a contract. The buyer writes a contract with his or her agent. The buyer's agent sends the offer to your listing agent as soon as possible. Your agent presents the offer to you and advises you on how to negotiate. After both parties have signed that they agree to the terms of the contract, it is considered a ratified contract. The buyer will then write a check for earnest money showing his or her commitment to buying your home. If the buyer defaults on the contract, the seller gets to keep the earnest money (and vice versa). The buyer and seller negotiate how much money will be put down for the earnest money deposit. (Time frame: earnest money is collected within 48 hours of contract ratification)

5. Choose a closing attorney. According to South Carolina law, attorneys must oversee all closings. The attorney will prepare the deed for you. Most people choose to use the same attorney that the buyer is using to facilitate the closing process. In cases where there is more than one seller, you need to inform the closing attorney if one of the sellers will not be present at the closing. You can give another person authority to sign for you through a document known as Power of Attorney. (Time Frame: as soon as the contract is written)

6. Buyer conducts a home inspection. Getting a professional home inspection ensures that the home is structurally sound and is free of leaks. Inspectors also check to make sure that all systems in the home are running properly. The home inspection is a buyer's expense. (Time frame: approximately within 2 weeks of ratifying the purchase contract)

7. Buyer writes a repair list. Getting the home repaired is optional. If the buyer is dissatisfied with the home inspection, the buyer's real estate agent will make a list of items for the seller to repair. The repairs will be negotiated in contract form between the buyer and the seller. (Time frame: within 48 hours of the last day for inspection, which is specified in the purchase contract)

8. Get a termite inspection. Sellers will typically be responsible for getting a Wood Infestation and Termite Inspection, which is also called a CL-100 report. Before closing, the home must be clear of termites, wood rot, and high moisture content because these conditions affect the structure of the home. Typically, the seller pays for the inspection and for any needed repairs that show up on the CL-100 report. (Time frame: approximately 1-2 weeks before the closing)

About the Author

Lee Keadle is a full-time real estate agent in Charleston, SC. He works with a team of three agents to give buyers and sellers the best services possible. You can search for homes and vacant land in Charleston, SC, by visiting our website at

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